True friends, political change, and Wetherby

A friend takes you to the station. A true friend drives you all the way to Wetherby on Bank Holiday Monday right before the Appleby Horse Fair.

Compared to Southern California, there is no traffic here, but for many in the north whatever slows you down is traffic. A horse-drawn caravan certainly does that on a two-lane road (i.e. most of them). As do families trying to get in a visit to a picturesque village or have an ice cream by the river, pretending it’s summer. Jenny drove through all this to get me to Wetherby, where tomorrow I shall begin to pester the British Library staff at the Boston Spa branch.

But first, some gratuitous Yorkshire driving shots:

Today is a rather strange day anyway in the UK, since last night results came in for the European Parliament elections. Back in summer 2016, when I was in Durham, voters demanded Brexit, so there shouldn’t be any need for such an election, because the UK shouldn’t have any members to elect. But since Brexit hasn’t yet happened, new parties have formed, and they ran candidates to be MEPs. The Prime Minister resigned a few days ago, and since I seem to be here whenever anything big happens in UK politics, I will venture my opinion.

        On the way to Wetherby, with canal boats in background

I see the results as a referendum on the Brexit process, which is neither producing Brexit nor going back to Remain. People are frustrated. I suspect that even if they have no idea what the European Parliament does, they voted for a party. So the Brexit party, whose position on Brexit is clear (“Now!”) got the most votes. This is troubling mostly because it mirrors some of the right-wing surge in Europe itself.  But the Liberal Democrats (who clearly wanted Remain) did extremely well also. Labour, under the wishy-washy Corbyn leadership, lost votes from last time, and the Conservatives bottomed out.

Some say the results clearly point toward the need for a second referendum, but I see just the opposite: the Brexiteers have not changed their minds. I have no idea which party a General Election would bring to power. Perhaps none: with at least four possible major parties, there may have to be a coalition government. Greens-LibDems-ChangeUK, I’m thinking, could beat both Labour and Conservative.

But we didn’t talk politics on the drive to Wetherby, which has turned out to be a lovely town (made of sandstone, interestingly) and I’m in a lovely flat overlooking the River Wharfe. I had been seeking the ultimate “room of my own” and this is the perfect writer’s retreat. (That open window, however, let in a large flying insect I have never seen before, and unfortunately I injured it getting it back out the window — this sort of thing happens a lot.)

True friends also help you move the desk across the room so you have a view.

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